kushh 401 and bathurstKushh was literally borne out of the ashes–campfire ashes, to be exact.

The story of Kushh’s humble beginnings is a classic start-up fantasy: it began with a chance meeting and has lasted a lucky 7 years. The founders are Jenna and Michelle and here is their story:

Jenna attended U of T and Seneca in pursuit of a business degree and was working at her successful home renovation business.   Michelle was a veterinary tech who had recently injured her back and after years of training and experience, needed to find less physically demanding employment.

They lived less than 10 minutes from each other and had never met. They didn’t meet at the local Tim Horton’s or frankly, anywhere near the midtown Toronto neighborhood they lived in.  They met at Hempfest  about 8 hours outside Toronto.

Jenna had arrived at Hempfest and set up her campsite.  She was relaxing and starting to take in the vibes when Michelle pulled up and started setting up in the next site.   Now, if you have ever been to a festival you know how important it is to get to know your neighbors.  They might just have that corkscrew you left at home, or be the company you hang with till the wee hours in the morning.

Jenna & Michelle quickly hit it off and spent quite a bit of time together.  At one point Michelle’s dog, Sandy, got lost at the festival.  The music got too much for him and he just bolted.  Jenna and Michelle stayed up all night looking for Sandy, going campsite to campsite.  It takes a special kind of person to spend all night looking for a friend’s dog, never mind a new friend.  They stayed at it up until Sandy was found and back at the camp site.

As the 5-day festival continued, they talked about their dreams, beliefs and the industry they were there to celebrate. They both believed strongly in medical access.  They both believed that the industry was on a cusp of change and that there was an opportunity to be had.  They also believed that people like themselves, professionals with jobs and families, should not have to schlep downtown, fighting traffic and paying for parking to get the accessories and supplies they needed.

Over a camp fire and some s’mores the idea of Kushh was born.  Why not them?  Why not now?  People needed supplies and accessories, and Lord knew the stores downtown were a pain to get to (this was almost a decade ago, remember…there were no midtown alternatives).  The hemp stores themselves were full of young kids that looked at you funny if you were professionally dressed or in a rush.   They dreamed of a place that was local, friendly and frankly, professional.  They did not want to be surrounded by dubstep and black light posters.  They wanted to be respected as an individual and a customer.  They each knew friends that felt the same way and quickly realized they were on to something.

The excitement grew as they continued to talk and started making plans to meet up when they got back to Toronto. As Jenna and Michelle texted to each other on their way home, they decided on the store’s name.  They figured with a name like Kushh you either knew what it was, or you didn’t.  If you were not familiar with kush you would probably not be interested in the store.

Within two months of the festival, in October 2009, Kushh opened its doors.  They chose their location carefully:  They wanted to be uptown, in a professional neighborhood with great traffic count and a busy intersection.  The corner of Wilson and Bathurst fit the bill and they settled in a discreet but accessible space on the 2nd floor of a strip mall just north of the 401: 3700 Bathurst St, to be exact.

The rest, as they say, is history: Jenna & Michelle’s complimentary skills, shared passion and kick-ass work ethic have brought their vision to life: Kushh, a warm, comfortable and convenient hemp culture store with kind, knowledgeable service and a selection to meet the most discerning needs of any partaker.